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Playing sports creates memories

It’s that time of year again, and although we are on the precipice of the tax filing deadline, that is the furthest thing on my mind.

I am talking about the beginning of baseball and softball season throughout the county. While the middle schools, high schools and collegiate levels are already playing at this point, most of the youth Little Leagues around the county and region began this weekend.

To me, youth sports will always hold a special place in my heart because of the lessons learned and memories made while playing in Little League baseball at South Point Little League.

While it was over 20 years ago, the memories seem to creep back in this time of year like it was yesterday. I was very fortunate to have a special group of young men to share the field with and win a boatload of games. From the time I was 12 until the age of 15 — at that time the oldest age to still participate in Little League — each year our all-star team at South Point won the district and state tournaments and played in the Central Region tournament.

When we were 13, our team won the district, state and regional tournament earning a birth in the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Michigan. Each player on our team had worked to reach that stage since we were 7 and 8 years old.

At the time, we were in the moment and the other teams were just that, our opponents.

However, many years later while reminiscing after finding some old pictures, I was interested to learn that we played against Matt Cassel — who is now an NFL quarterback — from Northridge, California whose team represented the West Region.

This is just one example of the memories made while playing youth sports.

However, at the same time I started thinking about all those who volunteer their time to teach and coach our children. In most cases, those volunteer coaches and board members are there to be a benefit to the children in the program and teach them the fundamentals that will allow them to get better.

Let them do it. If you have a question or concern, talk to the coach after practice or game and not in the presence of the child.

It is important for parents to remember that these are children who are participating to learn and grow, and because they simply love the game. They are not professionals and are highly susceptible and take your actions to heart. It is great to be competitive and strive to win, but it is not the most important thing in the world.

These times in our children’s lives can create lasting memories for them and teach many life lessons that will benefit them well after their playing careers are over.

Some of the most important lessons I learned were through youth sports that included being a good teammate, respect, accountability, commitment and how to win and lose.

All too often today, we find that our society wants to shield children from losing. I definitely hate to see my daughter lose, but I understand that no one wins 100 percent of the time. There are valuable lessons to be learned from losing that go far beyond the field or court.

Ultimately, does anyone like to lose? Absolutely not. But those who have lost and learned from it are less likely to continue to allow it to happen. That’s because, in most instances, two things will happen when a loss occurs. The person is going to work harder and get better.

I, as a player, learned these lessons. But, as a coach and parent, I had to learn them all over again. As time has gone on, I have evolved and want to make sure my daughter and the other young ladies I coach learn and continue to love the game.

In the end, don’t let your actions as a coach or parent be the cause for a child to lose their passion for youth sports and learn things that will stick with them for many years to come.

 

Josh Morrison is the general manager at The Tribune. To reach him, call 740-532-1441 ext. 16 or by email at josh.morrison@irontontribune.com.